Startup Spotlight: Prelude Therapeutics

Delaware’s Council on Development Finance has voted a $474,491 grant to Prelude Therapeutics, the latest company founded by Dr. Krishna Vaddi, whose biopharmaceutical company, Incyte, is now one of the state’s largest public companies.

The grant is among the first that Delaware has handed out since creating the Delaware Prosperity Partnership – a public-private partnership that will leverage private sector resources to enhance business recruitment, promote entrepreneurship and innovation, support workforce development efforts, and produce forward looking-analyses on economic trends to best position Delaware’s economy to grow.

“By restructuring our economic development efforts, we’re positioning Delaware to create good-paying jobs, build an entrepreneurial ecosystem, and ensure that Delaware remains a leading state to do business,” said Governor Carney. “We will partner with private business to draw on new resources, and ideas, for improving our economy. And we will offer new, targeted support for small businesses and entrepreneurs who are responsible for much of our economic growth and job creation.

Dr. Vaddi’s latest business venture, Prelude Therapeutics, is at the center of this new economic development approach. He hopes to be in the middle of a variety of exciting breakthroughs and hopes to replicate the successes he had in other laboratory settings by creating novel therapies that are able to treat particularly severe cancers and other rare diseases.

Dr. Vaddi envisions Prelude become a thriving private business with as many as 50 employees, before taking it public down the road. The collaborative relationships he has built throughout his career will allow Prelude to create new molecules and compounds that he can share with researchers at places like Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center and Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center.

The near half million dollar grant accompanies the announcement earlier this year, when the State of Delaware partnered with DuPont and the University of Delaware to create the Delaware Innovation Space. A nonprofit that offers what many start-ups cannot afford on their own: state-of-the-art laboratories, premium lab equipment, and quality office space.

It uses the campus at DuPont’s Experimental Station near Wilmington. This is the same research campus where Delaware scientists invented Nylon and Kevlar — inventions that powered the DuPont company, and supported good-paying Delaware jobs for generations. Delaware entrepreneurs at the Innovation Space now have access to business and scientific leaders at the Experimental Station, mentoring programs, hands-on support and education to help them grow, thrive, and create jobs.

The Governor and the State believe this has the possibility to be transformational for companies housed at the Innovation Space. But also believe this kind of partnership — one that draws on the state’s economic strengths to support new business and job growth — serves as the model for how Delaware’s economy will grow.

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